Just Desserts: I {Heart} Senator Warren, Part XXXVI

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Via Ed Kilgore, Robert Rizzuto at MassLive.com:

On Thursday, as Senator Warren got the opportunity to question regulators at her first Senate Banking Committee hearing, she bluntly asked “When did you last take… a large financial institution, a Wall Street bank, to trial?”

After much conjecture and discussion, the answer from Securities and Exchange Commission regulators was that no banks have actually been taken to trial despite the wrongdoings that led to the financial collapse of 2008….

Warren, a bankruptcy law expert who served as the chair of the Congressional oversight panel for the Wall Street bailouts, said that big banks who take part in illegal activities to bring in big money will never be compliant with the law unless there are actual prosecutions instead of just fines.

“If they can break the law and drag in billions in profits and then turn around and settle, paying out of those profits, they don’t have much incentive following the law,” Warren said. “It’s also the case that every time there’s a settlement and not a trial, we don’t have those days and days and days of testimony about what those financial institutions were up to.”

Warren went on to lambaste the SEC officials for not pursuing criminal prosecutions, drawing the comparison between them and then local prosecutors who go after average citizens for crimes that are arguably less egregious than almost sinking the United States economy.

“There are district attorneys and U.S. attorneys who are out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it,” Warren said. “I’ve very concerned that ‘too big to fail’ has become ‘too big for trial’ and that just seems wrong to me.”

NYMag‘s Kevin Reese adds more context:

Even though Wall Street bankers weren’t the target of Warren’s interrogation yesterday — the regulators who oversee them were — the financial industry is apparently freaking out about the hearing, on the theory that it augurs a tough road for them ahead in dealing with Warren as a senator. Ben White [warning: Politico] got some quotes from scared financial industry executives who called her performance “shameless grandstanding” and accused her of competing with Ted Cruz for the title of “most extreme fringe freshman senator.”

Which raises the question: Are these people kidding?

Elizabeth Warren did not end up in the Senate despite taking a hard-line approach to Wall Street; she was elected almost entirely because of it. I’d wager that people outside Massachusetts who donated money to Warren’s campaign or otherwise supported her run for office can’t tell you anything about her political platform except that she is tough on Wall Street.

Sure, there was always the possibility that she would mellow out once elected. Keep her head down, be a workhorse instead of a show pony, and all of that. But that was always wishful thinking from the financial industry and its lobbyists. As any web editor with access to traffic stats could tell you, people love when Warren squares off on Wall Street. It delights them, the sight of a bespectacled middle-aged professor absolutely hammering suit-clad financiers, refusing to slip into the numbing jargon of the industry (note, in the video, how she translates Tom Curry’s “enforcement actions” back into “settlements,” a concept more normal people can immediately understand), and generally being possessed of enough specific industry knowledge that she is impossible to steamroll with technicalities….

[S]he is also talking to Wall Street in a way it’s not used to hearing from elected officials, and it’s making her a rising star in the Democratic Party. Bankers should probably stop griping, and start getting used to it.

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157 replies
  1. 1
    Sophist says:

    Elizabeth Warren did not end up in the Senate despite taking a hard-line approach to Wall Street; she was elected almost entirely because of it.

    I object to Elizabeth Warren being characterized as “hardline”. Wanting to hang banksters from lampposts is “hardline”. Thinking that there should be prosecutions when people are raking in billions by breaking the law while driving the economy off a cliff is what is known as “common fucking sense”.

  2. 2
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Warren 2016.

    She would have caused the Fat Cats fewer problems as the confirmed head of that consumer agency.

    I think some of the Big Money knew that and poured a lot of money into that Senate race, but to no avail. There are more of Us than there are of Them and We stepped up to support Elizabeth. Thank you, fine people of Massachusetts.

    And I enjoyed the video. Thanks.

  3. 3
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Wondering why banks who broke the law aren’t being prosecuted = wondering why Obama is setting up the UN to steal our golf courses.

    Riiiiiiiight.

  4. 4
    Nutella says:

    @Sophist:

    Exactly. She is proposing prosecuting lawbreakers. Radical!

  5. 5
    geg6 says:

    @Sophist:

    THIS.

    I love her so much. She’s my permanent woman crush. I hope the Wall Streeters and banksters have heartburn and never have a good night’s sleep as long as she cares to grace our national stage.

  6. 6
    Mezz (fpa Michael2) says:

    She’s fantastic. With her as my new senator, it’s making me *extremely* reluctant to think of moving out of the CommonwealthGodSaveIt for a job.

  7. 7
    PreservedKillick says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    Wondering why banks who broke the law aren’t being prosecuted = wondering why Obama is setting up the UN to steal our golf courses.

    Brilliant. If you are banking your future on Cruz and Rubio, you’ve got serious problems.

    As far as Liz Warren being a hardliner, asking a few questions is not hard line. Pillory might be hard line. It might also be entirely appropriate for the situation.

  8. 8
    c u n d gulag says:

    Banks execs need to thank their God, Mammon, that they’re not serving 100+ year sentences in prison, let alone that their heads are still attached to their necks, or that their necks weren’t publicly stretched to the point of snapping, hanging from the nearest lamp post, while the crowds cheered.

    So sit down, and STFU!
    Or else you might make her angry, and Senator Warren (I still get a thrill up my leg, writing that) will be like a rabid pitbull on your femurs.

    Poor Bernie Madoff.
    He made the mistake of ripping-off other rich people.
    If he had stuck to us poors and middle class, he’d still be having his champagne wishes and caviar dreams fulfilled.

    Senator Warren, put these banking sociopaths in the cells next to old Bernie, so they can reminisce about the good times they had, behind bars. FOREVER! ! !

  9. 9
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Sophist:

    The banksters consider any action against them in any form (to include gentle scolding) as “hardline.”

    Which tells you exactly what their attitude is. Impede us in any way, and it’s tantamount to hanging them from lampposts.

    Which is why hanging them from lampposts is such an appealing idea.

    Warren is so dangerous to them because she is superb at explaining what is going on in terms that just about anyone can grasp.

    This terrifies the banksters, who try to obfuscate their activity (which amounts to outright theft) to provide cover.

  10. 10
    WereBear says:

    Yes, just what is it about HUGE crimes that seems to paralyze sense and reason? I stab somebody a few dozen times, I’m going away. Kill several people, and make hundreds sick… well, you know, it’s just business.

    Throw millions out of work with subsequent loss of health care… well, Elizabeth Warren is just being mean to the poor bankers!

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    Deleted. Wrong thread.

  12. 12
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    “accused her of competing with Ted Cruz for the title of “most extreme fringe freshman senator.”

    When “bank sympathizers” has the same scarlet letter status as the McCarthy-esque smears Cruz made against Hagel, I’ll take their analogy seriously.

  13. 13
    Redshift says:

    I was struck by how the Colbert segment on the suit against S&P drew more spontaneous sustained cheers than almost anything on the show recently. This stuff is really popular. The banks may be able to throw enough money around to make pundits pooh-pooh it, but it’s real.

  14. 14
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Redshift:

    The banks may be able to throw enough money around to make pundits pooh-pooh it, but it’s real.

    This seems to be pretty much the deal with any large social problem that goes against an industry desire to rape and pillage. Lots of support for regulation, etc., but the village downplays popular anger (see, e.g., gun control).

  15. 15
    Baud says:

    Slightly off topic, but speaking of good Democrats, one silver lining of the Republicans’ gerrymandering is that it should mean that Democratic districts, while fewer in number, are more solidly Democratic. Although I would prefer that the Democrats control the House, we have an opportunity to come out of this with the most unified party since FDR’s time. If we can pull that off, and if Republicans continue on the path they’re on, the Obama era could well become one of the most significant watershed periods in U.S. history.

  16. 16
    Ramalama says:

    Gotta wonder if that bit Warren said about prosecuting ordinary citizens might be a nod to what happened to Aaron Swartz.

  17. 17

    Whew! I need a cigarette after that.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    the village downplays popular anger

    This is one reason why elections are so important. The Village can spin a lot of things, but they can’t spin who won an election.

  19. 19
    debit says:

    I keep flashing back to that mock Elizabeth Warren ad; “I’m Elizabeth Warren and I will fix this shit myself if I have to.” I love this woman.

  20. 20
    Nethead Jay says:

    @Ramalama: I’m pretty sure it is at least partially meant to be. Warren’s aware of the case.

  21. 21
    El Caganer says:

    Well, now I am confused. Even as recently as a month or two ago, I was being told to STFU by various allegedly liberal people WRT criminal banksters on the grounds that the behavior was immoral but not illegal. Now all those allegedly liberal people have disappeared from the intertubes.

  22. 22
    geg6 says:

    @Ramalama:

    It probably is but it’s a good thing she didn’t say so explicitly. I certainly hope more people think of people who have been given draconian sentences for “offenses” like having a roach on their persons. Your average person really doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for Aaron Schwartz, who was offered a deal and refused it. And the people I’ve explained his situation to (because no one but the blogosphere knows or cares about Aaron Schartz) aren’t very sympathetic to his plight, especially when they all personally know someone who has been incarcerated for what, in a just world, wouldn’t be a crime at all. No matter how you explain what Schwartz did, they see it as theft and all the tears cried by the blogosphere does not move them at all. Personally, I prefer to keep them on our side, not alienate them by using someone they consider a thief (just like they do the banksters) as our rally round the flag symbol.

  23. 23
    TS says:

    @Ramalama:

    Gotta wonder if that bit Warren said about prosecuting ordinary citizens might be a nod to what happened to Aaron Swartz.

    That seems to be the general opinion on the intertubes.

  24. 24
    RSA says:

    Pedant alert: “deserts”.

    But yeah, Warren crush here, too.

  25. 25
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Time to unearth this relic from the campaign to have Warren appointed head of the CFPB.

    I’m reminded of a speech she gave at the NY Fed in early ’09 when she said (paraphrasing a bit here) “The big tobacco companies ALWAYS won. Until they didn’t.” Some beltway types on the panel with her at that event walked out during her presentation. I hope she can help bring about a similar fate for the banks.

  26. 26
    jayackroyd says:

    “accused her of competing with Ted Cruz for the title of “most extreme fringe freshman senator.”

    This accusation is, unfortunately, true.

  27. 27
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    The banksters are reacting this way because they haven’t had anybody outside of Bernie Sanders, shit all over them in public like this since oh, the Great Depression.

    But they have nothing to worry about since they’ll just flood the campaign coffers of practically every other Senator and also be safe knowing most of their ilk still run Treasury.

    It will take massive public opinion outrage to bring about any fundamental change. Of course if the great senior Senator from Mass is the spokeswoman who begins to move that public outrage…Her analogy to Big Tobacco is dead on. Maybe we’re seeing the beginnings of something similar here.

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @El Caganer: Quite a bit of the bankster behavior is immoral but not illegal. That doesn’t mean you should STFU but it does mean that calls for re-regulation are more likely to be effective than calls for prosecution. Personally, I think the people who broke even the very lax laws that we currently have should have the book thrown at them. At the same time, the bigger scandal is what remains legal.

  29. 29
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Last time I checked, forgery, racketeering and filing false documents with the courts was still illegal. To me, the larger outrage is the illegal foreclosure of millions of homes, in which every major bank and their executives are implicated. If I file a forged document with the court, I lose my license. When Chase or Citi or BOA instruct their attorneys to do the same, it’s “faulty paperwork.”

  30. 30
    The Sailor says:

    @El Caganer:

    Well, now I am confused. Even as recently as a month or two ago, I was being told to STFU by various allegedly liberal people

    Pro tip: the voices in your head are not real people.

  31. 31
    Robin G. says:

    In my day to day dealings, this is the only place we’ve got common ground with the average teabagger. You have to leave Obama and OWS out of it, but “Why the fuck didn’t all those rich bankers who took bailouts get prosecuted? Those Wall Street fuckers should be in jail!” gets a lot of vigorous nodding and increased ranting. The bankers wind up in the same mental category as the “East Coast Elites” for these folks, and even a steady diet of FOX News hasn’t changed that.

    The banks are scared blind because they know the only people who actually LIKE them are politicians. There’s no such thing as popular grassroots support for Lehman Bros. And if Warren means they’re losing the politicans too, well, God help them.

  32. 32
    jurassicpork says:

    Warren’s support of Israel notwithstanding, I’m still glad she’s my senator (and, after just a month and a half on the job, now my senior senator!) and her ongoing jihad on Wall St. is largely the reason why. When Sen. Warren was in MA on November 2nd, in the last days of her campaign, I had the pleasure of speaking to her in my hometown of Hudson not once, not twice but three times. She makes the time for you even if it’s only a second she can spare. But we desperately need someone who has a sincere vested interest in bringing these crooks to justice while people like Mrs. JP and I are screwed and not in a cigarette-smoking-while-looking-at-the-ceiling good kind of way, either.

    The little guy’s getting the shaft and corporations have us at their mercy as if they were a vengeful god. And what’s troubling is that the kids just now coming up and assuming their place in the world think this is the way things always have been and the way they should be. No, it isn’t, kids.

  33. 33
    A Humble Lurker says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    It will take massive public opinion outrage to bring about any fundamental change. Of course if the great senior Senator from Mass is the spokeswoman who begins to move that public outrage…Her analogy to Big Tobacco is dead on. Maybe we’re seeing the beginnings of something similar here.

    Yes. Every time I read people on the intertoobs saying ‘this can’t happen’ I think of all the changes we’ve made since the country’s conception that people of the time had every reason to believe couldn’t happen. If we can beat back tobacco, we can beat back the NRA and we can beat back banksters. It’s that simple. Not saying it’s easy, just that it is conceivable.

  34. 34
    Ash Can says:

    @El Caganer: No, we’re all right here, and perfectly willing to repeat that, due to the flurry of bank deregulation in the last few decades, finding grounds for actual prosecution may be difficult. However, if Elizabeth Warren — who obviously knows what she’s talking about, being well-versed in financial law — believes it’s feasible to find those grounds, I believe her.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes): No argument from me. You just pointed out an instance where laws were broken and some of the perpetrators were prosecuted. This, however, does not mean that every awful thing that the financial industry does constitutes an indictable offense under current laws. I am not defending the banksters by any means nor do I think prosecutors and regulators have been anywhere near as aggressive as they could be in pursuing those who are breaking the laws. That being said, shitty and amoral business practices do not, in and of themselves, automatically equal a criminal offense. As a result, there are people who have done shitty and amoral things who cannot be prosecuted because what they did was legal at the time they did it. The fix for this is to use this situation as a example and make the behavior illegal. Also too, prosecute the people who did break the current laws.

  36. 36
    superdestroyer says:

    IT is ironic that a non-Ivy League trained lawyer is complaining that the Ivy League trained lawyers in the US Attorneys offices do not want to take on the Ivy League lawyers who would be defending invest banks and the bankers who work for them.

    I hope that Senator Warren is smart enough to realize how hard it is to prosecute white collar criminals.

  37. 37
    General Stuck says:

    The CEO’s at the top of the bankster world, didn’t get there by being stupid. Most of them have been smart enough to leave themselves a degree of plausible deniability to escape the trappings of fraud. In this case, also bad behavior sanctioned by law, or the lack thereof for their greed lust and shenanigans.

    And leaving shadows of doubt along the way is not that difficult for a crime as difficult to prove as fraud is. With the requirement of knowing and willful attached. There really aren’t that many of these guys and gals, but the ones that are at the top are surrounded by the privilege of extreme wealth, with a stable of world class attorneys included.

    It is just false, and another sore point between Obama supporters and activists, the constant cries of O and Holder not throwing banksters in prison. When actually, a lot of them have been and are going to be thrown there. Just because the handful of top banksters remain to be convicted in a court of law, does not mean that fraud in general in that world, is not being vigorously prosecuted. That is just a false allegation.

  38. 38
    Chyron HR says:

    @El Caganer:

    Even as recently as a month or two ago, I was being told to STFU

    Aww, honey, I bet it’s happened even more recently than that.

  39. 39
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @General Stuck: One of Warren’s complaints is that the regulators are agreeing to settlements which, even thought they involve an admission of wrongdoing, permit the companies to keep their improperly gained profits. These settlement effectively become a cost of doing business. If a company can make, say, $10 billion on a fraudulent scheme and then pay $1 billion as a settlement, what incentive is there for the company to stop?

  40. 40
    Kalei says:

    Odd. I consider myself a conservative and I (along with most conservatives i talk to) think Senator Warren is dead on. Lots of common ground between you bleeding hearts and me… Maybe a little more focus on the issue and a little less venom is in order.

    Btw. I’m keeping my guns.

  41. 41
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I wholeheartedly agree that a lot of bankster immoral conduct is still legal. What I did not flesh out in my comment is that one person was prosecuted in a conspiracy that involved at least tens of thousands of forged and other fake documents used as a basis to seize homes in jurisdictions all over the country. Prosecutors in only two states, as far as I know, took any notice of this illegal operation.

    Here in NY, I can’t get a judge to consider the filing of a forged mortgage assignment as possible evidence of “bad faith,” much less criminality, on the part of a lender, because, after all, it’s been “corrected” with another (forged) document. We have the tools to put plenty of folks in jail (and disbar a ton of lawyers) while we work on re-regulating the financial industry. What we don’t have is the WILL to prosecute.

  42. 42
    General Stuck says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    To the degree that is happening, it is a valid complaint by Ms Warren. But it is also true that many of them are going to prison. They are not the so called “bankster” or top people CEO’s and the like, not yet, and many of the settlements do include some financial relief to the victims. It just sounds to me like a little grandstanding red meat for the activist crowd. Which is okay by me, as theater is part of what politics is.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes): It sounds like we are more or less in agreement then. I think many prosecutors are afraid to take on these cases. They are messy and time consuming, and the defendants will have top flight representation. It is much easier to rack up wins in other areas.

  44. 44
    aimai says:

    @General Stuck:
    Who is going to prison? I haven’t heard of any cases where even low level guys go to prison–everyone is “covered” by the apparent fact that no one had any legal responsibility to verify documents offered to them. The guys who broke into someone’s house (wrongfully) and threw their shit out in the snow and then locked them out even though the bank didn’t own the mortgage? They weren’t held liable. The bank staff that forwarded faulty documents? They haven’t been held liable. The robosigners? they haven’t been held liable.

    Warren correctly points out that when DAs and other people see a reason to do so they will force an individual to the wall (like Aaron Schwartz) on the basis of a hard reading of the law but when a large corporation is involved suddenly its all out of court settlements and gentlemen’s agreements.

  45. 45
    The Sailor says:

    @General Stuck:

    But it is also true that many of them are going to prison.

    since the regulators couldn’t name one I would be surprised if you could.

  46. 46
    Baud says:

    @The Sailor:

    Regulators can’t send anyone to prison. They don’t have criminal law enforcement authority.

  47. 47
    General Stuck says:

    @aimai:

    Did you visit my link. Here is one case of some jail time. But mainly what I meant was fraud convictions being had. Though most of the time the convicted felons are put on probation, as first time offenders.

    Though as in other venues, the top dogs are the toughest to prosecute due to their wealth buying the best legal defense. That is not from a lack of will and effort to prosecute them.

    Here is a list of recent convictions of lower level fraudsters.

  48. 48
    Mandalay says:

    @General Stuck:

    Just because the handful of top banksters remain to be convicted in a court of law, does not mean that fraud in general in that world, is not being vigorously prosecuted.

    Well the main case on the site you linked to strongly suggests that fraud absolutely is NOT being prosecuted.

    Bragging about a “$25 Billion Agreement with Five Largest Mortgage Servicers to Address Mortgage Loan Servicing and Foreclosure Abuses” the small print reveals:
    – No individuals prosecuted.
    – “The agreement does not prevent state and federal authorities from pursuing criminal enforcement actions related to this or other conduct by the servicers.”
    – “The agreement does not prevent the government from punishing wrongful securitization conduct that will be the focus of the new Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group”.
    – “The agreement does not prevent any action by individual borrowers who wish to bring their own lawsuits.”

    In other words, five financial institutions cough up $25 billion, but no individuals are prosecuted.

    Where is the evidence fraud is being “vigorously prosecuted”? I think the general perception is that large scale financial fraud is being resolved by agreements, whereby financial institutions get a slap on the wrists by having to repay some of what they obtained by fraud.

    As another poster pointed out, the shining exception is Madoff, but he was only prosecuted because he made the foolish mistake of stealing from the rich instead of the poor.

  49. 49
    Trakker says:

    Wall Street, why the fuss? If you’re not doing anything wrong you have nothing to worry about! (h/t to the loony right for this bumper sticker moment).

  50. 50
    PreservedKillick says:

    @The Sailor:

    since the regulators couldn’t name one I would be surprised if you could.

    As fun as all of this was, nobody is going to prison.

    This video went wonderfully viral and freaked everyone out, big time, partially because of the virality and partially because every single democrat saw it go viral and is ready to copy Warren. You can bet that about 10 minutes after this session with Warren, the head of every single financial institution “of a certain size” (say, larger than a piggy bank) was trying, desperately, to contact someone – anyone – who could make this STOP. Right away. Retroactively, if possible.

    There’s ultimately only one person who can even begin to do that: Obama.

    Of course, the banksters bet hard against Obama last fall. And they’ve been betting hard against the dems for a while.

    Full stop on that. Full reverse. There’s not a damn thing the republicans can do to help the financial industry in the face of overwhelming public opinion. Not a thing. Even if they were sane. Obama stands between them and the pitchforks, and he has Liz Warren in the Senate now.

    Pounds of flesh will be extracted, veritable tons of it, and I bet you see the financial industry do a few things: self regulate, accept Dodd Frank.

    And support the dems in 2014 and 2016.

    But prison? Nah, not happening.

  51. 51
    James R. Ehrler says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Actually, it’s even worse than that.

    If you make $10 billion on a fraudulent scheme and then pay out $10 billion in a settlement it likely was *still* be worth it. You have the time value of money benefit and the not so small chance that you won’t be caught and or the fine will be smaller than the benefit.

    A simple sample calculation like $10,000,000*.2 chance of getting away with it = a value of $2,000,000. Add in the chances of being caught and only having to pay $5b offset by the really small chance of being forced to disgorge a bigger settlement you end up with a real no brainer.

    They really need 3x damages ala antitrust law to act as a real deterrent.

  52. 52
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    @General Stuck: Yeah, insider trading, and a few ponzi schemes have been prosecuted. Still, out of the trillion dollar wealth evaporation that is the foreclosure crisis, exactly ONE indictment of an officer at a document fabrication outfit. NO redress for any of the victims, not to mention any criminal liability for those who knowingly foisted the fake documents on the court system.

  53. 53
    Citizen_X says:

    accused her of competing with Ted Cruz for the title of “most extreme fringe freshman senator.”

    Is that the “BOTH SIDES DO IT!” of the week, or what?

  54. 54
    General Stuck says:

    @Mandalay:

    Are you serious? That agreement does not prevent the government from pursuing criminal cases against individuals when the evidence is gathered to win a conviction. It is simply a fine from a civil case.

    So spend some time with the link I gave you. It is a clearing house for government actions civil and criminal.

    And say Hi for me, to Jane and Dday when you see them.

  55. 55
    Mandalay says:

    @General Stuck:

    Are you serious? That agreement does not prevent the government from pursuing criminal cases against individuals when the evidence is gathered to win a conviction.

    Dream on.

  56. 56
    danielx says:

    Financial industry executives are accustomed to having senators fall to their knees in awe of financial industry Randian awesomeness.

    Also, too – senators falling to their knees to ask for financial industry campaign contributions.

  57. 57
    General Stuck says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes):

    You do realize, that outside the robosigning mess, that most of the so called fraud in the mortgage business was tied to the derivatives mess that was completely legal. And you have to prove knowing and willful for a fraud conviction, and simply having lax standards in granting of mortgages is a tough road to prove that in a court of law.

  58. 58
    Shortstop says:

    Just deserts, not desserts. Common error.

  59. 59
    General Stuck says:

    I’m sorry, but demanding people you don’t like be thrown in prison , is just another pony demanded . And if you are also saying, or implying, that the Obama Holder DOJ is not making real efforts to deal with this situation, with limited resources, then I just proved you are wrong about that. It goes back to the four years of bullshit about Obama the corporatist, etc…..

    And as was said, the SEC are mostly civil regulators, the DOJ does the criminal prosecutions.

    I like Senator Warren, but don’t recognize political heroes. Not even Obama.

  60. 60
    danielx says:

    @comrade scott’s agenda of rage:

    It will take massive public opinion outrage to bring about any fundamental change.

    We’ve had massive public opinion outrage and the result has been Dodd-Frank, which is flawed at best. And which, be it noted, the Republicans are determined to undo or declaw at every opportunity. This is not going to change because the financial industry has spent lots of money buying the regulations and regulators that they prefer.

    When it comes to the financial industry, Congress* as a body does not give a shit about public opinion because they are bought and paid for.

    *Saving some individuals like Warren, Sanders and a limited number of others.

  61. 61
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @aimai:

    Warren correctly points out that when DAs and other people see a reason to do so they will force an individual to the wall (like Aaron Schwartz) on the basis of a hard reading of the law but when a large corporation is involved suddenly its all out of court settlements and gentlemen’s agreements.

    It’s a variant on the theme of “owe the bank a billion dollars and you own the bank”, And I have a slivery of sympathy, in the sense that serious fraud is notoriously difficult to prosecute, and regulators are basically in the same position as the drug testers in sport: underfunded, under-resourced, and always a few steps behind the latest way to cheat.

    But in situations like this, I’m a fan of pour encourager les autres.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    But in situations like this, I’m a fan of pour encourager les autres.

    For that, you need to find the perfect case. One that the prosecutors will win and one for which the sentence will be huge.

  63. 63
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    @General Stuck: The “robosigning mess” is a euphemism for the greatest wealth transfer in this country since Reconstruction. It never stopped, it’s still going on. See Werebear at #10 above & Aimai at #43 for some of the consequences before you start in on the difficulty of prosecuting malfeasance in derivatives deals.

  64. 64
    The Sailor says:

    @Baud:

    Regulators can’t send anyone to prison. They don’t have criminal law enforcement authority.

    My bad, regulators can’t be expected to know what goes on in the community they are supposed to regulate.

  65. 65
    aimai says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    Yes. I agree. I don’t get overexcited by the question of why the Obama people couldn’t prosecute legal if immoral acts.

    But I am upset that we continue to have laws tha tpermit everyone in the chain of command to act criminally (seizing properties that they don’t own) because they relied on someone else having done their due diligence. Strict liability for repo men, for paper pushers, for process servers etc… would gum up the works and cause the banks to have to pay actual people to assume actual responsibility for things. No more robo signing. No more than 10 or 20 sets of papers can be “cleared” in a day–the same kinds of safeguards they had to put in for mamogram reading, for example–because its not physically possible for paperwork like loans and mortgages to be reviewed at the clip that they are sayign they are reviewing. And a huge tax on banks to pay for the cost of courts and judges so there can’t be any backlog. For homeowners the process is a killer and delay can mean destruction (if the house has been seized) –there should be a built in tax to the transaction which shifts the burden to the banks and creates a less overworked judiciary.

  66. 66
    Mandalay says:

    @General Stuck:

    then I just proved you are wrong about that

    Er, you have done the exact opposite.

  67. 67
    Johannes says:

    @General Stuck: I have to say, I’m underwhelmed by the cases at the link, General. Other than the case resolved with the fine, none of the other cases involve the topic under discussion, foreclosure fraud. More to the point, as la Caterina points out, the judicial indifference to the brazen fraud perpetrated by the banks and their servicers is jaw-dropping. While la C runs into this every day, there’s beginning to be some scholarship on the subject, and it bears out her experience.

  68. 68
    General Stuck says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes):

    WASHINGTON – A former executive of Lender Processing Services Inc. (LPS) – a publicly traded company based in Jacksonville, Fla. – pleaded guilty today, admitting her participation in a six-year scheme to prepare and file more than 1 million fraudulently signed and notarized mortgage-related documents with property recorders’ offices throughout the United States.

    Watch now, as the legal system does its thing of plea and sentencing deals for even more and bigger fish. It takes a while to get to the top, and four years is really not that long when dealing high level fraud.

  69. 69
    aimai says:

    @TS:

    Swartz was/is local to us and to Warren. But its a cleverly vague reference so that everyone can read into it and as a bankruptcy lawyer with years of work on real world consequences for ordinary people I think she used it, wisely, as a way of letting everyone hearing it fill in the blank image with their own narratives and remembered victims.

  70. 70
    Xboxershorts says:

    The question Ms Warren asked, “when is the last time your agency brought forth a criminal trial” is especially meaningful when asked of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (currently Tom Curry). After all, it was the OCC that interceded for the federal government in GA (And NY and elsewhere) to halt a pending prosecution over fraudulent predatory lending practices. The OCC claimed in 2003, and won, total jurisdiction over any banking practice where that bank was national and not regional in it’s charter. The OCC then proceeded to ignore tens of thousands of complaints of fraudulent predatory lending practices.

    Mr Curry was squirming while trying to answer that question. And rightly so, as his agency, (note, he did not lead the agency at that time) played a very significant role in the explosion of no doc, low doc and sure to default liar loans that would begin to tear apart the American housing market just 3 years later.

    It was not the bankers Ms Warren was going after here, although they should take notice. It’s the regulatory capture in our agencies that allows the fraud to take place, with no threat of repurcussion.

  71. 71
    Ramalama says:

    @geg6:

    but it’s a good thing she didn’t say so explicitly

    Yeah, agreed. Something about Warren being a professor in her recent past life makes me think that she knows when to pull out the punches and when to pull them in … probably so that others can throw ye olde punches.

    Makes me wonder if she’s a poker player.

  72. 72
    Baud says:

    @The Sailor:

    My bad, regulators can’t be expected to know what goes on in the community they are supposed to regulate.

    I have no idea what this has to do with my point that regulators don’t prosecute people criminally. Did Warren specifically ask them what prosecutors were doing?

  73. 73
    Mandalay says:

    @General Stuck:

    Watch now, as the legal system does its thing of plea and sentencing deals for even more and bigger fish.

    Riiiiiiight. Happens all the time.

    It takes a while to get to the top, and four years is really not that long when dealing high level fraud.

    Well they better move fast before statutes of limitation kick in.

    Your posts really are a thing to behold. You are delusional. It’s like reading from someone who thinks that climate change is all lies, or nobody has been to the moon.

  74. 74
    General Stuck says:

    @Xboxershorts:

    It was not the bankers Ms Warren was going after here, although they should take notice. It’s the regulatory capture in our agencies that allows the fraud to take place, with no threat of repurcussion.

    I think this is spot on. And one of the end result of de regulation of the financial industry the pas few decades that dems have participated in as well. When Harvey Pit declared a kinder and gentler SEC, I figured we were in for some shit, and not just on Wall Street. This was a national stampede to get rich quick, no questions asked. And at the core, a completely unregulated framework for legal fraud that was the derivatives market. It was a giant money sucking machine at the top, with the regulators unwilling or unable to stop it. And it sucked bad business practices and outright fraud from the bottom up to feed the cash unlimited machine

  75. 75
    General Stuck says:

    @Mandalay:

    Your posts really are a thing to behold. You are delusional. It’s like reading from someone who thinks that climate change is all lies, or nobody has been to the moon.

    LOL, Then don’t read and respond to them. If you don’t like getting punked.

  76. 76
    General Stuck says:

    I am not saying the efforts to chase down all the bullshit that happened (and fraud was part of that) are all they could be. I am just saying it is false to claim that nothing of value is being done.

  77. 77
    The Sailor says:

    @Baud:

    I have no idea what this has to do with my point that regulators don’t prosecute people criminally. Did Warren specifically ask them what prosecutors were doing?

    I have no idea what this has to do with bankster regulators not knowing if anyone has been prosecuted.

    Hint: they haven’t been.

    Too big too fail = too big to jail.

    Warren got it right.

    Your concern for banksters is duly noted.
    p.s. et al civil cases can result in jail time. Just not for the 1%.

  78. 78
    Don SinFalta says:

    @General Stuck: You seem to have a lot of faith in this “task force”. Maybe you should take a look at this if you’re wondering why your link doesn’t make everybody jump up and agree that fraud is being vigorously prosecuted.

  79. 79
    Baud says:

    @The Sailor:

    You’re hearing voices in your head. I haven’t expressed any concern for banksters.

    And no, civil cases cannot result in jail time. That’s why they are civil.

  80. 80
    Mandalay says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:

    in the sense that serious fraud is notoriously difficult to prosecute

    Assuming for the sake of argument that this is true, why is it so? Is due to inadequate laws? Is it truly inherently difficult? Is it due to reluctance on the part of the government to prosecute? Is it due to a lack of personnel and expertise?

    Why do we constantly see massive settlements, but no individuals at the top being prosecuted?

  81. 81
    Richard S says:

    The idea that O and Holder would go after the big guns is laughable – specially after O goes on the View and gives Jamie Dimon a tongue bath. Pathetic. But O will never want for money…

  82. 82
    The Sailor says:

    @General Stuck:

    LOL, Then don’t read and respond to them. If you don’t like getting punked.

    But everything you wrote on this subject was proven wrong.

    Punked, you’re soaking in it.

  83. 83
    General Stuck says:

    @Don SinFalta:

    I’m sorry, I don’t consider Dday a source of objective analysis. And don’t care if you jump up or down about anything I write here. I just call em as I see em, and let my personal bilge flow freely as can be. It’s called blogging.

  84. 84
    General Stuck says:

    @The Sailor:

    LOL, flailing butthurt is not handsome, nor a factual argument.

  85. 85
    Maude says:

    One problem is that the Republicans have made sure that the SEC is underfunded. The SEC doesn’t have enough staff.
    SEC refers to DOJ on criminal matters.

  86. 86
    General Stuck says:

    @Richard S:

    The idea that O and Holder would go after the big guns is laughable – specially after O goes on the View and gives Jamie Dimon a tongue bath. Pathetic. But O will never want for money

    Cool, so you are going to turn the firebagger pumps on to rock and roll. Somebody had to do it.

  87. 87
    General Stuck says:

    Let’s wrap this sucker up. So Senator Warren jumps ugly on some regulators at the SEC, that richly deserve it. And immediately we go to Obama is going soft on his bankster buddies. Just another tricky day on Balloon Juice.

  88. 88
    El Caganer says:

    @General Stuck: Now, now, be fair, General. I figured on that happening in the first ten comments – it did take a little longer to get there.

  89. 89
    Ramalama says:

    @aimai: I wonder if Warren plays poker. She’s got such a keen sense of when to haul out the dogs, and then pull them back in.

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:

    To be fair to the journalists, I can understand why they’re confused by seeing a Senator doing her job of overseeing federal regulators and pushing them do actually do their jobs and oversee the bodies they’re supposed to be regulating rather than enabling them. After all, it’s been, what, a couple of decades since Senators used their powers of oversight for anything other than getting bennies for their friends in the industries they were supposedly overseeing (and I include Democrats in that count).

  91. 91
    General Stuck says:

    @El Caganer:

    Point noted. It could be progress, eh?

  92. 92
    Mandalay says:

    @General Stuck:

    And immediately we go to Obama is going soft on his bankster buddies.

    Yet another blatant lie from you.

    You were the one who invited comment about banksters when you posted this nonsense in post 37:

    It is just false, and another sore point between Obama supporters and activists, the constant cries of O and Holder not throwing banksters in prison. When actually, a lot of them have been and are going to be thrown there.

  93. 93
    General Stuck says:

    @Mandalay:

    It is just false, and another sore point between Obama supporters and activists, the constant cries of O and Holder not throwing banksters in prison. When actually, a lot of them have been and are going to be thrown there.

    Actually, I corrected myself in a follow up comment, to being prosecuted and convicted, but mostly getting probation for first time offenders.

    The rest of your comment is your usual fapping bullshit

  94. 94
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Richard S:

    The idea that O and Holder would go after the big guns is laughable – specially after O goes on the View and gives Jamie Dimon a tongue bath.

    Let’s go to the tape, shall we?

    “JPMorgan is one of the best-managed banks there is. Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got and they still lost $2 billion and counting,” the president said. “We don’t know all the details. It’s going to be investigated, but this is why we passed Wall Street reform.”

    I’m still astounded that you guys took a quote by Obama explaining that we need stronger bank regulation because even the “best-managed banks” screw up sometimes and turned it into, “Obama loves banksters and doesn’t want to change anything!”

    It’s like trying to communicate with a Fox viewer. Up is down, black is white, and Obama saying he wants stronger bank regulations is proof that he doesn’t want it.

  95. 95
    RaflW says:

    I supported her because I wanted her to do exactly what she did this week, and hope she keeps doing it. I also supported her to send a message to those obstructionist bastards in the GOP who prevented her from being the CFPB chief.

    They thought they could shut a smart, tough woman down. Now they have to sit next to her in hearings and in the Senate chamber for six years, hopefully 12 or perhaps more. Love it!

  96. 96
    Chyron HR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Much like Mormons and Muslims, True Progressives are granted dispensation by the Holy Prophet Greenwald to lie both to and about the infidels.

  97. 97
    General Stuck says:

    This is important topic and issue, and from some googling fu, it seems to me a lot of misinformation is out there about what is being done. As well as a lack of info on what is happening nationally of what is really a white collar crime wave, that has been going on for some time now. It is just not true the mouthbreathing fail coming from folks like Dday, nor is it true that the feds are up to speed on resources and will to face this crappola. Maybe I’ll task Charlie to research it, and put up some comments later, for some Alpo dollars, of course

  98. 98
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Hmmm. So in your quote, Obama says JP Morgan lost $2 billion (maybe in a single quarter?), but in 2012 their JPM’s gross profit was $97 billion and net income was $20 billion.

    Way to be truthful, Obama! Those banksters have it soooo hard!

    And what Wall Street reform is he referring to (odd that he’s not specific)? Has robosigning mortgages stopped? Are the derivative markets regulated now? Are things getting better, or have banks just continued to dig a deeper hole over the past 4 years?

  99. 99
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jasmine Bleach: Okay, you are knocking Obama for not giving detailed policy specifics on The View? Really?

  100. 100
    Mandalay says:

    @Mnemosyne: Interesting what you chose to highlight in the Obama quote. How about we do it this way:

    JPMorgan is one of the best-managed banks there is. Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we got and they still lost $2 billion and counting,” the president said. “We don’t know all the details. It’s going to be investigated, but this is why we passed Wall Street reform.”

    See???!!! Even wonderful banks led by supersmart people can accidentally lose money sometimes!!!

    Just why is Obama choosing to frame the argument that way, and gratuitously kiss ass when JP Morgan loses $2 billion? How the hell can he argue that the head of HP Morgan is “is one of the smartest bankers we got” when someone under him managed to lose $2 billion and Dimon was (allegedly) unaware of what was going on?

    Obama may be sincere about going after Wall Street, but the average person would be skeptical based on that comment of his.

  101. 101
    Mandalay says:

    @General Stuck:

    This is important topic and issue, and from some googling fu, it seems to me a lot of misinformation is out there about what is being done.

    Ah! Of course, it’s Google fault that everyone except you is wrong!

    You may be shameless and clueless, but you are entertaining.

  102. 102
    General Stuck says:

    @Mandalay:

    fap fap fap. Yawn

    eta

    Ah! Of course, it’s Google fault that everyone except you is wrong!

    LOLwut?

  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay:

    See???!!! Even wonderful banks led by supersmart people can accidentally lose money sometimes!!!

    Just why is Obama choosing to frame the argument that way, and gratuitously kiss ass when JP Morgan loses $2 billion? How the hell can he argue that the head of HP Morgan is “is one of the smartest bankers we got” when someone under him managed to lose $2 billion and Dimon was (allegedly) unaware of what was going on?

    I read that as explaining why strong consumer protection regulations are needed. That is, even the smarted bankers can lose your money, so we should make sure that can’t do anything too dangerous with it. Notice that he follows the comments you referenced with comments about regulation.

  104. 104
    Ted & Hellen says:

    This is MY senator. I voted for her. She is awesome.

    I was almost in tears listening to her speak what til now has been almost unspeakable in Congress.

    Now…do we get to ask why the president doesn’t talk like this? Why he never has, in four years?

    After all, the folks Warren was grilling work for the Prez.

    Thoughts, Bots?

  105. 105
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Mandalay:

    Assuming for the sake of argument that this is true, why is it so? Is due to inadequate laws? Is it truly inherently difficult? Is it due to reluctance on the part of the government to prosecute? Is it due to a lack of personnel and expertise?

    Part of it is due to inadequate laws but a lot of it is truly inherent difficulties. They come in two sorts: the way fraud is defined in legal terms and the need to prove it.

    The first is that fraud, in its legal sense, is a lot more than just lying about your product. It must be willful and it must be material. The definition of material is that, had the other party to the contract known about the falsehood, it would have changed their decision to enter into the contract.

    In the case against Goldman that led to a big settlement and howls about a lack of prosecution, materiality would have been difficult to prove. That’s because there is a good chance that, even if Goldman had been upfront about how the mortgages were selected for the security there’s a good chance that the damaged party, a German bank, would have gone through with the deal anyway. The primary reason they wanted that particular security had to do with a quirk of German banking laws as to what constituted Tier 1 capital. They wanted it because it both promised a high yield and because they could count it as reserves against other lending.

    It isn’t enough to show that the banks lied. They had to lie in very specific ways with very specific consequences.

    Even if you could clear that hurdle, though, prosecuting any individual for fraud is much harder than that. You must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that: a specific person either made or authorized the statements in question; had knowledge that they were false or were grossly negligent in not knowing; and that they did so with the specific intent of defrauding the customer.

    In most of these cases the paper trail that could attach liability to any specific person never existed. When it does it becomes very easy for a defense attorney to muddy the waters and let reasonable doubt creep back in. I often refer people to the prosecution of two Bear Stearns executives for exactly the sort of fraud everyone complains never gets prosecuted. The DoJ had emails in which the two talked about how they were misleading their investors about the securities in question. Nevertheless they were acquitted.

    Unless you want to change not only the banking regulations but the very way that fraud had been defined in Anglo-American law since before this republic was founded, it’s always going to be very hard to make a case for something like this.

  106. 106
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Jasmine Bleach:

    Yo:

    The derivatives market is international. This would be a G7, WTO and UN issue. Treaty material. Regulating the derivative market domestically would do nothing because the actual speculative actions occurred globally. Going back to Glass-Steagal commercial/investment division and empowering the SEC to oversee the bond rating process would be super helpful, but the problem of derived asset values is global and is the cancer of Orthodox Capitalism.

    Subprime derivative bundling and credit default swaps were sold to every interested investor in the world. The only thing keeping another derivatives or margin loan crisis from occurring again is the trauma from near total market collapse.

    There are still trillions of dollars up for grabs in the derivatives casino. Until there is a groundswell of global activism to neuter this market, it will continue unabated and latch on to the next fad.

    Even Senator Warren won’t touch it. Speculation on derived values is the dark matter of the global trade hegemony.

  107. 107
    White Trash Liberal says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Who is the we? Are you the Queen of England?

  108. 108
    Maude says:

    @RaflW:
    And the worst of it is that people understand Warren and what she talks about.

  109. 109
    Corner Stone says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Okay, you are knocking Obama for not giving detailed policy specifics on The View? Really?

    This really isn’t your style. May I suggest you leave the pathological lying interpretations to sociopaths like Capt Mnemo.
    That isn’t what JB was saying and I’m pretty sure you know it.

  110. 110
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mandalay:

    Just why is Obama choosing to frame the argument that way, and gratuitously kiss ass when JP Morgan loses $2 billion?

    Because the point is that regulation is not punishment for bad deeds. You don’t only regulate the bad players who behaved badly any more than you only make the bad players follow the rules in football. Everyone has to follow the same rules whether they’re a saint or a sinner.

    Do you really think that only bad actors should be regulated and that companies that are otherwise well-run should be exempted from regulation because, hey, they’re good guys? If not, then congratulations — you agree with the president that the relative virtue of the company and its officers has nothing to do with whether or not it needs to be regulated.

    If you really want to buy into the Republican/right-wing frame that government regulation is a matter of morality and not a matter of practicality, go right ahead, but don’t complain that the president isn’t buying into your moral frame where only bad actors should be regulated.

  111. 111
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @General Stuck:

    ’bout time we had some grandstanding from the sane side, don’t you think?

  112. 112
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Do you really think that only bad actors should be regulated and that companies that are otherwise well-run should be exempted from regulation because, hey, they’re good guys? If not, then congratulations — you agree with the president that the relative virtue of the company and its officers has nothing to do with whether or not it needs to be regulated.

    This is a beautifully illustrated case in point of what Capt Mnemo does here all the time.
    I challenge anyone to read the quoted paragraph and tell me what it means in the context of making a rational argument on this topic.

  113. 113
    Ted & Hellen says:

    General Schmuck’s psych team has obviously found the right drug regimen to keep him calm-ish and glib and relatively stable.

    The problem is that he remains bat shit insane.

  114. 114
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Ted & Hellen: This seems like a valid criticism. I like the idea of a senator throwing some elbows at the executive branch. That’s kind of how things are supposed to work. I assume that the reason why Obama doesn’t “talk like this” is that he wants to project the idea that Dodd-Frank, CFPB and such are doing their work and that things are better now than they were before. The executive branch should be checked by the other parts of the government, and some good old-fashioned inter-branch tension, even within the same party, is IMHO good for the government and, hopefully, good for the public.

  115. 115
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: it’s defending a particular interpretation of the Obama quotation, to wit, that the complimentary reference to Morgan/Dimon is setting up the idea that even “smart” and “well-managed” banks need regulating too. I’m not sure the quotation is actually doing that myself, but that seems to be Mnem’s take.

  116. 116
    aimai says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I’d have to agree with Mnemosyne’s interpretation of Obama’s comment and its implications.

  117. 117
    Haydnseek says:

    @Kalei: Where did you get the absurd idea that there is any threat to your gun ownership? Nobody advocates taking away anybody’s guns, as you well know. Oh, wait. I notice you characterize yourself as a conservative. That explains it.

  118. 118
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I disagree. No one here is making the argument she is contexting out with the “Do you really think” opening. Because, no. No one here thinks or has made that argument.
    Her take is, as usual, a deliberate lie of what is being discussed.

  119. 119
    Jasmine Bleach says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I’m faulting Obama for trying to push a meme that the big banks are losing money (completely not true), and promoting Wall Street Reform that doesn’t do much at all to fix the huge underlying problems with the mortgage industry, the financial sector, etc. He’s pushing a narrative that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, but does serve to confuse the public into believing the banks are being held accountable, things are bad for them, and the financial shenanigans on Wall Street have been fixed to a large degree.

    What we do need is more straight talk like Senator Warren showed here, and on top of that, actual action to potentially make reforms happen and hold people/banks/companies accountable for crimes. Banks today are still foreclosing on people for properties that the banks do not legally hold. Robosigning is still occurring against the laws of many states. People should be held accountable for doing this crap, and nobody is. As Warren points out–if nobody is taken to trial, where’s the incentive to stop the profitable practice?

    Obama supports the corporatists, and not the people. His narrative pushes that agenda, instead of a progressive agenda. Sure, he’s to the left of Romney, but he’s not in any way a lefty. What we need right now is someone who supports the people–like Trust-busting T. Roosevelt or Keynesian F.D.R.–in order to stop wealth going upwards.

    I’d be very happy if Warren ran to be president in 2016. Her I’d vote for in a second.

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I think her point is actually that since nobody here _would_ make that argument, or believes it at all, we’re all already on Obama’s side.

  121. 121
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jasmine Bleach:

    I’m faulting Obama for trying to push a meme that the big banks are losing money (completely not true), and promoting Wall Street Reform that doesn’t do much at all to fix the huge underlying problems with the mortgage industry, the financial sector, etc.

    I don’t think Obama was suggesting the JP Morgan is not turning a profit; rather, he was saying that JP Morgan lost over $2 billion on the particular type of derivative trading that Goldberg was asking about. As far as Wall Street reform goes, I would agree that there is far more to be done, but, that being said, Obama has at least gotten the ball rolling. It is his administration that brought the CFPB into being. YMMV.

  122. 122
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jasmine Bleach: I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that his point was that big banks are losing money. I think he was saying that even well-run outfits had shady, sketchy things going on, which need to be figured out, and that’s why laws and regulations are important. In case it wasn’t clear, here’s what he was talking about: 2012 JPMorgan Chase trading loss. It was more of a “we need to figure out what happened” than “those bastards must be stopped,” but I don’t think it creates the same set of associations you seem to think it does.

    ETA: a better example would have been a big bank MAKING a ton of money on something shady. That would have been better from a left-populist standpoint. But I think what he’s trying to say is “So much crazy shit was going on that not even the smartest people in finance can really explain it, and sometimes it blew up in even their faces, so as we try to regulate it we also have to understand it.”

  123. 123
    Mandalay says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    Wow! Thanks for all the info. You seem to truly understand the issues, know what you are talking about, and you can explain things in terms a layman can understand.

    Sadly, you should probably stop posting here; you wouldn’t fit in.

  124. 124
    Chyron HR says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Tim, by way of comparison, is frantic, incoherent and unstable, and apparently proud of it.

  125. 125
    Mandalay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I read that as explaining why strong consumer protection regulations are needed.

    I do as well, but the gratuitous deference shown to Dimon and JP Morgan was completely inappropriate, and a little disturbing.

  126. 126
    Mandalay says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Now…do we get to ask why the president doesn’t talk like this? Why he never has, in four years?

    This.

  127. 127
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jasmine Bleach: also, I don’t think “supports the corporatists” is accurate, although “hasn’t been tough enough on the corporatists” is fine.

  128. 128
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Just so I’m getting you. She’s making a false argument that accuses a poster here of making the false argument to better flesh out that no one here is making the false argument.

  129. 129
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mandalay: FYI, here are Obama’s words from signing the Dodd-Frank bill. remarks by the president at signing Dodd frank Wall Street reform and consumer protection act

  130. 130
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mandalay:

    I do as well, but the gratuitous deference shown to Dimon and JP Morgan was completely inappropriate, and a little disturbing.

    Why? Again, I think Obama was trying to make the point not that evil banksters are evil, but that even good, well-intentioned banks need regulation because sometimes they do stupid things. IMO, he was trying to get away from the value judgement that says that regulation is a punishment for evildoers and saying instead that regulation should be part of the price of doing business.

    He was refuting the value-based right-wing meme of the past 20 years that regulation isn’t needed because businessmen are inherently virtuous and will always do the right thing and all you can hear is that he said some positive things about Jamie Dimon.

  131. 131
    Corner Stone says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    That would have been better from a left-populist standpoint. But I think what he’s trying to say is “So much crazy shit was going on that not even the smartest people in finance can really explain it, and sometimes it blew up in even their faces, so as we try to regulate it we also have to understand it.”

    The better argument is the truth. They do not give a damn how they make the money, nor understand or care what the risks are to receive that money. Not only do they not understand the mechanisms underlying these complex transactions, but they constructed them in a deliberate fashion so that no one else could either.
    The consequences never mattered nor entered into the decision making equation because they knew they would never ever pay a price for any downside.

  132. 132
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I don’t think she was accusing anyone of having made the bad argument. It was, like, unless you think X, which of course you don’t, congratulations, you already agree with what Obama said. I can’t speak for her, but that’s how I understood the rhetorical device she used.

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay: @FlipYrWhig: Some people are not rhetorical bomb throwers. I think Obama has made the substantive points numerous times with Flip’s link as one example. He just doesn’t do it in a way that everyone finds satisfying.

  134. 134
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: I think that’s all true, but, and you know what’s coming because I’ve said this kind of thing a lot before, what I’m trying to get at is _what Obama is trying to say_, not what his answer should have been. Which is why, flying in the face of his track record here, T&H IMHO make a valid point: why _doesn’t_ Obama offer an answer closer to the ideal answer? That’s an interesting and meaningful question.

  135. 135
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I really think he’s trying to turn away from the past 30 years of Republicans claiming that regulations are inherently punitive and shouldn’t be imposed on well-meaning companies by pointing out that we all need to be protected from multi-billion dollar screwups by banks, even if those screwups weren’t maliciously intended.

    He’s trying to remove the emotionalism from the discussion of regulation that Republicans interjected into it and point out that government regulation of a business isn’t a horrible punishment.

  136. 136
    Mandalay says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Thanks for the link, and I happily accept your correction.

    That said, Obama’s words were a little milquetoast, and his only specific target was AIG, which was a bit like shooting fish in a barrel. Maybe, as president, he just can’t say stuff that Warren can.

  137. 137
    Mandalay says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Some people are not rhetorical bomb throwers.

    Agreed. By coincidence, I just made a related argument in post #134: “Maybe, as president, he just can’t say stuff that Warren can”.

  138. 138
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: yeah, I don’t hear it that way myself, but what I do hear is that the transactions and “financial products” (I hate that phrase) got so complex that even smart people and experts can’t really explain them, which is why regulation is both difficult and necessary. I don’t hear sympathy. At worst I hear resignation. Which I think you can still fault him for, if what you’re hoping to hear is accusation and accountability, because there’s not very much of that.

  139. 139
    Mnemosyne says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    That’s my answer for your question as well — he’s trying to get away from discussing regulation as a moral judgement meant to punish bad actors and point out that regulations are a practical way to protect the economy from stupid errors like the one JP Morgan made. If even purportedly smart people like Jamie Dimon can put their business in jeopardy by making a mistake, shouldn’t we preventing them from making that mistake in the first place rather than trying to pick up the pieces afterwards?

    In a way, Obama is making a “seat belts” argument about regulating businesses. Everyone has to wear a seat belt, even if they’re a good driver, because they protect everyone. Businesses need to have some “seat belts” installed to protect all of us from accidents and mistakes (and, not incidentally, from maliciousness and criminal activity, too).

  140. 140
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mandalay: I think you’re always in a sticky spot after passing a law that is better than the status quo but leaves a lot undone. You have to claim credit for what you accomplished while also not acting like everything’s hunky-dory now when it obviously isn’t. But, more importantly, it cheers me to see Warren doing things that Senators are supposed to do: challenging the executive branch about how it enforces the law. This kind of thing is also what Senators should do if they seriously want drones and targeted assassinations to be reined in.

  141. 141
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay: I think we need both the calm, analytic explanations and the fiery rhetoric in order to move policy forward. In same vein, I think that both purists and pragmatists are necessary. The question always is where the line should be drawn. On the rhetoric side, I tend to be turned off by polemical style; other people get fired up by it. À chacun son goût.

  142. 142
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think T&H, Mandalay, and Corner Stone also have a point in that there’s more “framing” around mistakes and (what I think is) complexity/incomprehensibility than around deceit and deliberate malice, which are much closer to the heart of the problem. To borrow your analogy, It’s a bit like turning a question about drunk driving into a question about driver safety in general, then mentioning the importance of seatbelts and defensive driving.

  143. 143
    Mandalay says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    He’s trying to remove the emotionalism from the discussion of regulation

    “Remove the emotionalism?” Really? If that’s the case then Obama and the Senate need to stop groveling, jamming their fingers up Jamie Dimon’s ass, and sticking their tongues in his ear.

    Just stop. It is more than inappropriate – it is downright wrong – for government employees to suck up to Jamie Dimon, or any any other banker. By all means be respectful and professional, but leave it at that.

  144. 144
    Mandalay says:

    @Corner Stone:

    The consequences never mattered nor entered into the decision making equation because they knew they would never ever pay a price for any downside.

    This.

    If Bank of America (for example) wants to gamble with derivatives or uranium futures then go for it. But only on these clear understandings:
    – There is zero chance of the government ever rescuing you.
    – Your risky plays must be completely disconnected from your mainstream business.

    If those conditions were met then there wouldn’t be much need for complex regulation of obscure financial instruments. The issue would become self-solving. Either an independent chunk of Bank of America would continue with risky speculation and succeed or fail, or it would realize that the party is over.

    It seems that too-big-to-fail and too-big-to-jail are root causes for a lot of our problems with financial institutions.

  145. 145
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandalay: Fundamentally, I think the problem is that the wall between investment banks and commercial banks was torn down. What you are describing is the way things used to work.

  146. 146
    General Stuck says:

    LOL, Leave this thread for awhile, come back and it’s fucking Oprah hour, with the I”M Okay/You’re Okay touchy feely amongst trolls and those that love them. I might get weepy, hanky anyone??

    I agree, we need the purists, for sport and their sweet tears. T and H can be garlic juice.

  147. 147
    General Stuck says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I think T&H, Mandalay, and Corner Stone also have a point

    LOL, Keep shoveling flip, there’s got to be a pony in that pile of shit, .

  148. 148
    General Stuck says:

    @Jasmine Bleach:

    Obama supports the corporatists, and not the people. His narrative pushes that agenda, instead of a progressive agenda.

    Nah, no firebagging here. You wouldn’t know a real progressive agenda if you saw it fall from the sky. Do you really think a president can not support corporatists in a fucking capitalist society. Warren would, Kucinich would, and the second part is just plain offensive, for anyone with a brain and ears. Obama doesn’t support the people. You are an idiot if you believe this at this point in time.

    So okay, the reforms put in place by congress after 30 years of republican econ philosophy has had its way with the system, does fall short of the ideal. But it is progress, something faux progressives don’t want to admit. The reason is, that they are stock stone idealists, and not the least bit progressive. That is the first lie. The rest come easy after.

  149. 149
    Starlit says:

    @Linda Featheringill: From your post to God’s ears. And the Justice Department. And the good Senator’s, also too.

  150. 150
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Motherfucking smash capitalism

  151. 151
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @AA+ Bonds: And with what would you replace capitalism as an economic system?

    ETA: Serious question. You often comment against capitalism, but I have no idea what you would put in its place. Many would argue that capitalism, if well regulated, works rather well.

  152. 152
    JS says:

    Sure, there was always the possibility that she would mellow out once elected. Keep her head down, be a workhorse instead of a show pony, and all of that.

    A “show pony” is a Senator who goes on the Sunday shows 3 out of every 4 weekends while Cindy is shopping. Or for a new Senator, it might be making lots of appearances on the cable news channels to raise their profile, or grant interviews to major papers and magazines.

    What I’ve heard, Sen. Warren is following Sen. Franken’s example of only talking to their local state media, and turning down all other requests.

    In conclusion, doing her job and asking tough oversight questions during a committee hearing is being a workhorse. It’s the furthest you could get from “show pony”.

  153. 153
    burnspbesq says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Did you sleep through the part of your high school civics class that was about separation of powers?

    I’m sure it felt good to write that, but it’s just downright silly.

    There is exactly one thing that Senator Warren can do that will have an actual impact on how aggressive the SEC is going forward.

    She gets to vote to confirm Mary Jo White.

    That’s the only thing that matters. Everything else is theatre.

  154. 154
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @burnspbesq: what about senate committees as investigative bodies? Does that still happen?

  155. 155
    burnspbesq says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Investigate, and then what? Until there are Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress that can actually move legislation, all the investigations in the world won’t make a damn bit of difference.

    We both want people who can be proven to have done things that are actually crimes under the law as it actually exists to do hard time, and as much of it as the sentencing guidelines allow. Given the Constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws, the only thing that any member of either house of Congress can do to advance that cause is give DOJ and the SEC more resources.

  156. 156
    General Stuck says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    They investigate, and if they find specific criminal evidence they send the info to the DOJ. They do not prosecute anyone, except for impeached presidents, and judges etc…./ Most of the time anyone with even a chance of self incrimination, takes the fifth at their hearings/

  157. 157
    Fred says:

    It’s been a fantasy of mine that one dark night someone replaces the bronze bull with a bronxe guillotine just to give the wall streeters some perspective.
    No doubt just typing this will get me on the no fly list.

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